“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”
Daniel finds himself in a place where he desperately needs direction from the Lord. He has seen the spiritual condition of the nation and knows that the only hope for his people is a work of God. He determines to set himself to seeking the Lord. Along with daily prayer and digging into the Scriptures, Daniel chooses to set out upon a voluntary fast.
Fasting is a spiritual exercise that involves denying the body physical things in order to focus attention on spiritual things. Fasting is often associated with both prayer and personal repentance, and is designed to bring us into step with what God wants to do in and through our lives.
Technically, fasting is to restrict yourself from all food for a period of time, but actually, a person can fast from just about anything. Here Daniel has chosen to restrict himself from “pleasant food.” Because of his age, it is likely he ate something each day, but limited it to absolute necessity. We can follow his example by setting aside something that tends to occupy a lot of our time, and give that to the Lord. Today, one of the most valuable fasts may be to give up social media for a week and use the time to pray and read the Bible.
Whatever we choose to fast from, we should understand that much of the value of fasting is to train the flesh to say no. The same drives that compel me to eat, also tempt me to do what is forbidden, or to react in an ungodly manner. If I can resist the flesh’s desire for a cupcake, I can learn to resist its desire to complain, lash out in anger, or to be right all the time.
Why not choose to fast this week? Perhaps you will set aside food for a few days, or maybe there is something else that you can lay down for a while and give that time to seeking the Lord.